by Kerry Martin
As a communications professional, finding opportunities to speak in different voices is a great exercise to help you hone your craft. And while I happen to think my Sean Connery impersonation is superb, I’m talking about your written word as opposed to your spoken diction.
Just last weekend, through the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) Orlando Area Chapter’s service event, attending members had the chance to help the Give Kids The World Village (GKTW) with a number of its communications objectives. The nonprofit organization was finishing a two-week long “Extreme Village Makeover” renovation of its resort, which provides cost-free vacations to children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. The massive project even garnered a “Good Morning America” special segment with renovation expert Ty Pennington, and through the national exposure, Give Kids The World had hundreds of information requests and posts on its social media channels.
FPRA members—myself included—were called in to help answer online comments from people who had seen the show, a number of whom had personal connections to GKTW. During my shift of writing responses, I could see the progression of my language from the very standard messages of thanks, to the more authentic heartfelt replies of gratitude and joy for sharing their testimonies.
When you work in an agency, it is critical to convey a range of different perspectives in your writing tone because of the different clients you represent—such as those in technical, business, travel and consumer industries. Although I’ve written business articles for nonprofits, this was my first time directly engaging with audiences who have very strong and emotional ties to what Give Kids The World does—granting wishes to inspire hope.
In the end, I felt that this unique “community service” project we did for the communications team at GKTW served me more than I served them, and if there’s one takeaway that I would share, it’s this: Use every opportunity to speak in different voices to develop your style as a communicator.